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Paint Raised Beds?

 
Deborah Thompson
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Just constructed my first raised bed today. It's raw pine and hasn't been set-in yet. Should I protect the wood somehow?
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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I have cheap pine round my beds and it's rotting away nicely
I don't know of any wood-protection that's not pretty toxic, but considering my soils (hopefully) always moist, I don't think wood would last long whatever I did. I know lining it with black polythene hurries the rot along...
The only way I know of to avoid wood decaying is to use a fancy hardwood. Way out of my price range, so rot it is!
 
Deborah Thompson
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Not wanting to take chances of contaminating the organic soil I'll be hauling in, will just leave things alone. Yes! Let it Rot!
 
Ken Peavey
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Coating the boards with beeswax will give it some extra life without adding paints or solvents to the soil, but it's not cost effective. Letting the pine board decay will enrich the soil Think of it as a soil amendment.
Because any wood used for bed sides will decay, I find logs and thick branches to be ideal. The bark helps the wood to hold up a bit longer, and the price is right.
 
Deborah Thompson
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Normally I wouldn't even think about coating the boards, but I'm living in town now and am focused on taking out the lawn and gradually turning the front yard into "edible landscaping". This is the start of the bones of my lay-out. It will definitely stick out like a green thumb, so wanted to artsy it up a bit. As my gardens in country have been though, I'll also make them interesting here...... and whimsical if at all possible.
Thanks for the response.
I sure do like Permies - have subscribed to other gardening forums, but this one feels like home ~ like a fit for me. One in which I won't hesitate to become involved.
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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If it's about looks, rather than preservation, I'm sure you could paint the outward-facing areas with water-based paints.
But I also think painting the bed 'edges' has the potential to draw negative comparisons/attention to the spaces between. That's not very clear, but kind of like people using that dyed mulch as a highlight, rather than a background.
My liking edges to kind of blend in is purely a matter of my personal taste, and the majority of my stuff happens out the back, so I can do what I want!
Since you need to 'sell' your front-yard activities, that adds another whole layer.
Is there a general 'taste' in your suburb? Like shrubs trimmed into 'meatballs', herds of plaster animals, etc?
 
Cee Ray
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Location: BC Interior, zone 5a
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If it's going to rot anyways you could drill it and inoculate with some oyster mushroom spawn for a couple years of fall and possibly spring mushroom production.
 
Deborah Thompson
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Cee Ray - where do you find the mushroom spawn? Great idea, by the way!
 
Ken Peavey
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I forgot about charring.
Toss the wood into a good hot fire, char the exterior. The objective is not to burn the wood deeply, just to char the exterior. This outer layer being charred will help to protect the wood inside. If you want, char one board, leave the next one in the same bed untouched, see if it works for you. It won't make the wood last forever, but it can get you an extra couple of years.
 
George Lee
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Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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Let's see..

Hell to the No..

Let rain and weather give it character.

The end -
 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Deborah,

Paint is poison, you're absolutely right. I'm still looking for places you can just buy mushroom spore or culture like you can seed, so if anyone can help us out here, I'm sure I'm not the only one. I am wondering if there are any pre-paint wood treatments that would save the outer structure of a wood-based raised bed without contamination. The only thing I can think of besides the beeswax mentioned above is probably linseed oil, but one without polishing additives. I wonder if food-grade flax oil (the same thing but cleaner) would work?

-CK
 
Matthew Fallon
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Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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find some clean looking pallets and dismantle, theyre usually made of scrub/swamp oaks and other hardwood to bear the load of whatevers put on them. which will last a lot longer than douglas fir/pine. more work but theyre free,higher quality wood and you'd be recycling! i've recently been checking out the vertical gardens grown in pallets, love that idea ! i may build a similar custom thing here.

http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/episode221/
http://www.lifeonthebalcony.com/how-to-turn-a-pallet-into-a-garden/
http://www.verticalgardensolutions.com/


@chris Kott. http://www.amazon.com/Oyster-Mushroom-Carrier-Gourmet-Mushrooms/dp/B005SXKE9G
there were plenty other varieties..


 
Chris Kott
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Thank you Matthew!

And the pallet idea is a good one. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to do it that way, as my main problem right now is that the lumber contributions to this year's hugelbeds will comprise a lot of fresh cut manitoba maple and a bit of elm pruning. I get a lot of clean pallets through the print shop and bindery that my parents and I run, so I won't even have to go far.

-CK
 
Jay Ritchie
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If you want to decorate it without paint, I suppose you could get an electric wood burning tool and decorate the boards before you assemble the bed. I'm sure it would take some practice before one would be proficient in the teqnique of decorative wood burning though. It's a hobby all it's own.
 
Deborah Harr
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Want red/pink? Boil up some beets. Want green---boil up the kale. All easy, none of which treat the wood however. There are many funky "colors" you can get boiling up vegetables, greenery and fruits. However, if you like purple and blue, you will have to let me know what you come up with. I tried blueberries, while the liquid looked fun, and it went on initially a pretty blueish purple.....it settled on gross greyish in color. I boiled up the marigolds and put it over the top of the blueberry and this produced a pretty orangish color. Again, it doesn't treat the wood, but it doesn't contaminate it either.

As for getting rid of your lawn, I did mine the easy way, built the bed sides, got cardboard and newspaper, composted each bed heavily for a year. The cardboard choked out the grass, the compost and worms set out making the soil. Add some coconut coir bricks, water and let them expand. Poof.....bed ready the next year.
 
Deborah Harr
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Thank you so much for sharing those links. I loved the wall felt gardens. Recycled pet bottle felt in these parts goes for about 45 cents per yard. I doubt I could get much more than two seasons out of them. But I think it would be easy enough sew these up on the machine. Only concern would be the backing to keep moisture off of the wall and of course, watering so that it won't drip. Thank you so much for sharing those links.

I have been growing in recycled bottles that I use at the house.



I cover them with flour and water over scrapbook paper.

A close up


Edited because I typed in the second image link wrong.
 
Deborah Harr
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Chris Kott wrote:Deborah,

Paint is poison, you're absolutely right. I'm still looking for places you can just buy mushroom spore or culture like you can seed, so if anyone can help us out here, I'm sure I'm not the only one. I am wondering if there are any pre-paint wood treatments that would save the outer structure of a wood-based raised bed without contamination. The only thing I can think of besides the beeswax mentioned above is probably linseed oil, but one without polishing additives. I wonder if food-grade flax oil (the same thing but cleaner) would work?

-CK


http://www.fungi.com/

Lots to select from and the best quality I have ever found. Have yet to get anything bad from them! Even when I was a total tard and ruined one....they replaced it for me.
 
Matthew Fallon
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Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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Deborah Harr wrote:Want red/pink? Boil up some beets. Want green---boil up the kale.
However, if you like purple and blue, you will have to let me know what you come up with.


if you have Pokeberries by you, these will stain a nice purple!
from my experience ,depending on what you use to dye with ,many colors will fade eventually,especially in sunlight!
when you use them to die clothes there are Mordants that are used to fix the color. vinegar and salt are 2, also alum (aluminium potassium sulphate)
is another that is safe i think,well it's used in making baking powder anyway.
 
Michael Davis
Posts: 11
Location: Southeast Michigan
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I started a new thread, but it looks like this might be a good place to repost.

I am considering building raised beds using stacked phone books. We'll place reclaimed 2x12 on top and driving a "U" shaped piece of rebar through the top board, the books and into the soil.

We will screen the books and remove plastic, metal and other potentially toxic materials.

Has anyone heard of doing something like this? Can anyone see any potential problems?

Mike
 
Jason Paltrue
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I would preserve the wood using linseed oil. Not only does it have good preservative and waterproofing qualities when applied to wood, it is completely non-toxic, so even if you get some run-off, you can be confident it will not harm your plants or your health. If you are committed to true organic practices, make sure you source your oil from an organic supplier. Heat-treated wood is an alternative- to find a supplier, google thermowood suppliers. I would strongly recommend against using softwood untreated, particularly in wet climates like the UK, unless you can afford to replace the wood every couple of years.
 
Josef Theisen
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Location: SE Wisconsin, USA zone 5b
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Jason Paltrue wrote:I would preserve the wood using linseed oil. Not only does it have good preservative and waterproofing qualities when applied to wood, it is completely non-toxic, so even if you get some run-off, you can be confident it will not harm your plants or your health. If you are committed to true organic practices, make sure you source your oil from an organic supplier.


Careful with that! Raw linseed oil is non-toxic but boiled linseed oil is what is commonly found many places today. Boiled linseed oil is not boiled at all, but dries much faster than raw oil due to the addition of toxic drying agents. Read the back, there are generally warnings not to use it on children's toys or cooking utensils.

I treat my boxes with a paste made from 5 parts food grade mineral oil and 1 part beeswax. I gently heat them until they blend and let cool. Then rub on clean dry wood.
 
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